K-42 Electric Kettle


“Some of the most successful designs come from the humblest objects. No one knows for certain who pioneered the very first electric kettle, but we know for sure that it is a Canadian original. Legend has it that an unknown engineer in the steel-stamping factory at Canadian Motor Lamp Company saw a headlight of a McLaughlin Buick (another Canadian original) and thought that, turned upside down, it would make the perfect receptacle for an electric coil”. Making a kettle from the mold of headlamp was a revolution, a rethink on how objects are made using the fewest resources to make them, a concept that is just now finding mass application.

“The kettle’s dome was created by drawing a flat circular sheet of brass using a powerful hydraulic press. Over 40 separate parts were incorporated into the first model, including a steel base plate, and Bakelite handle. The gleaming shine of the kettle was achieved by a process using 16 separate polishing steps. This 1940 design became an industry standard, and was sold as the “economy kettle” until the 1960s, after millions were sold.

Moffatt is widely acknowledged as one of Canada’s preeminent industrial designers. Some of his other credits include a floor polisher, a teardrop-shaped floor heater, and one of the first electric lawnmowers. Fred Moffatt died in 2006 at the age of 94. His obituary in the Toronto Star reported that with his body was buried with his Stanley hammer.”

-Jennifer Jannuska

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